生き甲斐 – Living Well Around The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Steven Munatones recalled, “I have swum many times in Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan. The archipelago is near Taiwan. The waters are beautiful and challenging with hundreds of islands, some uninhabited and each dotted with coral reefs.

The longer swims included a 29 km circumnavigation around Yonaguni Island in Okinawa with hundreds of hammerhead sharks in our visual perspective, and a 38 km crossing between Ishigaki Island, Iriomote Island and Tatetomi Island.

Before, during and after each swim, I met hundreds of Okinawa residents and volunteers from escort pilots to shark divers whose love of the ocean and passion for what they did in life always profoundly impressed me. They helped me with their genuine smiles; they helped me with their immense amount of knowledge; they helped me with their heartfelt fervor and boundless energy. And I always wondered why.

These videos above suggest why: the Japanese concept of ikigai (written as 生き甲斐).

When I talk with and meet open water swimmers around the world, I also sense the concept of ikigai is alive and well for those whose lives are oriented towards or centered around the open water community.”

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